We managed to sleep in until 10 a.m. after being awake for hours in the middle of the night. We were woken by the doorbell and a man who had come to the wrong room to collect laundry. We had to quickly dash for breakfast before it became lunch.
The Chrome has it's eccentricities. Today the lifts weren't working and we could hear significant amounts of water flowing down the lift shaft. The rooms are OK but have odd features like a glass walled (transparent) bathroom and an electric roller blind. The view leaves a little to be desired but the wi-fi works and is included in the rate.
Today's number one priority is to get a power lead for the netbook. Our concierge recommends a place two doors down the street. The couldn't have been less interested if they had tried. We walked on and after 10 minutes or so saw a shop on the other side of the dual carriageway. Another 10 minutes and we had managed to cross the road. "No problem Sir. One , maybe two hours. We will phone. Rs 500 deposit."
We went for this and moved on to visit the Forum Mall, mainly for the air-conditioning. Having spotted the name of the in house catering facility we couldn't resist the urge to stop by for a fizzy drink. We decided that our next move would be to head for the metro and take a trip up to the North side of the city centre.
The Kolkata metro is pretty efficient but it is absolutely forbidden to take photos so you will just have to believe us. The stations are spacious with marble finishes and the trains have a/c. Our train was pretty busy but we shoved our way on and, when the time came, managed to shove our way off. As we exited the metro at MG Road we were passed by a 3 piece suite.
We headed off down an interesting looking street with fruit & veg sellers on either side and an endless stream of porters with great baskets of bananas on their heads. The further we went along this street the more we left the 21st century behind us. Every kind of fruit that you could think of was on display plus a few that we had not seen before. we walked through the market and found ourselves back at Rabindra Sarani, the route of yesterday's tram ride. This time we walked south along the street for a block until we got to where we could catch a tram to the east end of the Howrah Bridge.
There is a massive flower market here. We were told that you need to be there early to see it at its best. We were there at 2.00 p.m. and it still looked pretty stunning from the bridge above. Our next destination was the railway museum near Howrah Station. This involved a walk across the bridge over the River Hooghly towards the massive edifice of Howrah Station.
Last year's readers will recall that it is illegal to take photos of this bridge and as we are here for another month we won't be posting a picture of it.
Howrah railway museum looks quite impressive from the outside and is lavishly staffed. There were at least 3 people in the ticket office. The outdoor exhibits are in poor repair and clearly suffering from the weather. Some of the steam locos are captured from East Pakistan in the 1972 war. in the covered hall there is Darjeeling B Class No 798 painted in a truly hideous livery and attached to a restored observation car. Overall D's verdict was that the museum is a little disappointing and at a massive Rs 5/-, the admission fee is not such good value as a Rs 4/- first class tram ticket.
We decided to head back towards base by taking a ferry across the river to the Babu Ghat near Eden Gardens cricket ground. We were glad that ours wasn't a busy ferry as we watched one arriving. The crowd all moved to the disembarkation side and you could see the boat list quite badly. Ours was pretty quiet and we got seats with a view and a five minute river cruise for our Rs 4/-.
Back on dry land we grabbed a cab and headed for Sudder St. This was closed off to vehicles for roadworks and presented quite a rustic scene as we strolled along to the Fairlawn. It was very pleasant to relax over a drink in the garden after a hard day's sight seeing although not quite so pleasnt when a bird pooped on D's t-shirt. The table of Indian guys thought that this was hilarious and would bring good fortune. They probably run a laundry. At this point we spotted the missed calls from the computer shop.
Back to the hotel for a sluice via the computer shop. The new lead is perfect. Out again to Kolkata institution Kewpie's for supper. We had a couple of Bengali Thalas - a bit like tapas and very tasty. The fish cooked in banana leaf was amazing and D was even persuaded to eat roast aubergine. What do the Greeks do to aubergines that makes them so nasty? We finished up with Mishti Dhoi - a legendary bengali dessert. Very yummy!